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A quiet resilience in my heart.

Yesterday was a day of solidarity of the Peshawar church blasts. Islamabad did me proud as the youth of all faiths and backgrounds were represented.We formed a human shield outside the Church, we showed the true picture of Pakistan.We jumped to the beat of TTP Deobandi murdabad, we stood and chanted “Girti hui dewar ko aik dhaka aur do, amreeka ke pyaron ko aik dhaka aur do”, we sat and earnestly said this is our country, not Hakeemullah Deobandi’s.

A minuscule part of me felt good, positive that we had done something  in fact here’s what I posted on Facebook last night:”This morning I was proud of my city. More over the shame and guilt I felt over what happened to our christian brothers & sisters in the “name of ISLAM & Shariat” was slightly mitigated, because in the protest today there were a lot of Muslims present.And the liberatti can say what they want, to me it did matter, whether you showed up because it was atrocity against humanity or against our brothers in faith, in such moments it is vital to show unity and support.If nothing else, we distanced ourselves from terrorism openly and showed that truly terrorism has no religion. We are not scared to call out the Deobandi TALIBAN on their atrocities, nor are we falling prey to their web of lies in dividing us,with the ruse of religion”.

And then just as I was going to sleep my sister rushed in to tell me a family member had been shot in Karachi. A young man of 34 – 35 with 4 children was shot in the chest. We were asked to pray as doctors said that they couldn’t stop the bleeding. Sleep went out the window for many of us. It is the third sectarian tragedy in the family within 11 months. Every time it brings the horrors anew- reliving through the same pain,fear and worries. Like a tornado wreaking havoc in a split second- Eid ul Fitr was the first eid without Shahid Ali Mirza and his absence was felt by all, but most by his children. Will eid ul azha be also spent in mourning?

Will this young man’s children grow up wondering what their Baba was like? And hear of him through other peoples stories and idealize him but be ripped of the chance of knowing what a great person he was. Will they too become the inheritors of statistics and pain like every minority in this country?

It felt like a bullet went whizzing past my hope, not killing me but shocking me into silence. It felt like I was smiling and someone tightened the noose around my neck,cruelly reminding me of where I actually was. It felt like my voice was not loud enough when we chanted TTP murdabad. Perhaps there seems no logic in comparing the two, yesterday was a success and nothing can take away from the effort everyone put in, to the downright emotions. But forgive me, for this is the way I feel momentarily; devoid of calculating logic.Like something I did yesterday was lacking.I could have done something more.Should have done something more.

The Deobandi Taliban’s bullets and blasts wreak havoc in peoples lives, from killing bread winners,mothers,sisters,children, maiming people and thrusting more burdens of surgeries and hospital bills adding to the toll of financial bills already present. The devastation caused by Taliban fan boys (since all 35 groups crave attention) has rippling effects in extended families,beyond the allowance of the fan boys’ imaginations.

I know that in the quiet of my heart lies a resilience which will overpower this huge sense of failure and loss.I know that in no way have they hampered my beliefs that they deserve a place worse than hell for it seems too ordinary a punishment for their sins. If you’re reading this it’s for you TTP,LEJ,ASWJ and all other terror outfits that our leaders call stake holders. It has not changed the fact that I believe it is time for military action and precision.Target terrorists with a befitting reply, not one that will make cowards blush.It has not altered that come Muharram and ashura,I will still go to all the majlises,imambargahs and julooses.I will still mourn for Hussain(a.s).I will learn of how even our infants should smile at piercing arrows that make even hardened criminals of Yazeeed’s army cry.It has not taken the conviction that their days are numbered.

But I have grown up with earthquakes and aftershocks and the life in between.And if that’s what it is, then that’s what it is.I vow to myself that the next time I am on the streets I will stand taller, jump higher and shout louder.For our voices will eventually reverberate to the hearts still willfully asleep, hopefully before they loose family members of their own.It will reach Deobandi Taliban like Hakimullah, Asmatullah Muawiya and Malik Ishaq.

I promise you it will not just be a symphony of  grief  , it will be it will be a foretelling of their imminent doom.



About the author

Alizeh Khaleeli

Photojournalist, wedding photographer & writer inspired by life and it's realities.


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